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In Beyond Broccoli, raw foods coach Susan Schenck revises her previous stance on the controversial and increasingly popular diet trends of vegetarianism and veganism. While continuing to advocate a largely raw food diet - the subject of her previous, award-winning book The Live Food Factor - she now recommends the addition of small amounts of animal-based foods to the diet.
Review by Marjorie Tietjen, BS
In Beyond Broccoli, available via PPNF’s online store, raw foods coach Susan Schenck revises her previous stance on the controversial and increasingly popular diet trends of vegetarianism and veganism. While continuing to advocate a largely raw food diet – the subject of her previous, award-winning book The Live Food Factor – she now recommends the addition of small amounts of animal-based foods to the diet.
While practicing veganism for six years, followed by a year of vegetarianism, Schenck began experiencing a gradual deterioration of health, which she attributes to high carbohydrate intake, low protein consumption, and certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies produced by her exclusion of animal-based protein. She reports that her health and energy level improved dramatically after she added a few ounces of meat or small fish to her daily diet and cut back on carbohydrates. Beyond Broccoli is written from this unique experiential perspective.
While the author feels that veganism and vegetarianism can be valuable aids in short-term detoxification, she observes that they are not healthy long-term solutions for most people. She relates how, in the beginning of her vegan experience, she gained abundant energy and felt very healthy. Schenck now believes that this increased feeling of well-being was due to the detoxifying nature of a raw, plant-based diet and that the long-term exclusion of animal products takes its toll on many. I found this to be an important point for those considering embarking on a vegan or vegetarian diet.
The author covers various myths surrounding vegetarianism (e.g., “a diet low in saturated fats and cholesterol is more healthful”), and discusses the origins of vegan and vegetarian lifestyles. Dr. Weston A. Price was very interested in the traditional cultures that ate very minimal amounts of animal foods or none at all. Schenck shares with us a quote by Dr. Price that reveals what he discovered in his research:
“As yet I have not found a single group of primitive racial stock which was building and maintaining excellent bodies by living entirely on plant foods. I have found in many parts of the world most devout representatives of modern ethical systems advocating the restriction of foods to the vegetable products.
In every instance where the groups involved had been long under the teaching, I found evidence of degeneration in the form of abnormal dental arches to an extent very much higher than in the primitive groups who were not under this influence.”
Schenck advocates balance in the diet and encourages the consumption of animal protein (sometimes raw), healthy fats, nuts, plenty of fresh and preferably raw vegetables, apples, and berries. She also feels the addition of grains to the diet should be limited. These opinions are based on research and backed up with documentation.
This book includes interesting discussions on the politics of agriculture, the sustainability of raising animals for food, the quality of protein in animal products versus that found in grains and vegetables, the specific foods that are especially good for brain function (e.g., seafood and eggs), and the digestibility of various foods. It also addresses the exponential rise in diabetes, which Schenck links to the emphasis on grains and other high-carbohydrate foods in the American diet.
Schenck also discusses the benefits of consuming raw or rare meat (from pastured cows only). She includes information on the safety and preparation of raw meat, as well as the most healthful ways to cook meat. In addition, she addresses the sensitive issue of the morality of eating meat, and stresses the importance of both raising and slaughtering animals in humane conditions.
Although Schenck acknowledges that some vegans and vegetarians seem to do very well on their respective diets, she suggests that the others consider at least adding eggs and/or fermented dairy to their daily fare. She includes a section advising which foods vegetarians and vegans would do well to include and which they should avoid.
The author advises following several “universal” principles, such as: eat whole foods, eat mainly raw foods, and eat foods that are as close as possible to what our “paleo-ancestors” would have eaten. To facilitate this, she provides lists of helpful resources, including informational websites and sources of clean, healthy meat and other animal-based foods.
I found this book to be a comprehensive and important examination of what we should be eating and why. It also explores how politics and economics impact government nutritional advice. When we understand the factors that influence what we eat, we are better armed to determine what dietary advice to incorporate into our lives. Beyond Broccoli is a very enjoyable, informative book that should be of interest to everyone, regardless of dietary preference.
About the Author
Marjorie Tietjen is a freelance investigative journalist with a special interest in public health, education, and awareness. Her writings can be found in several print publications, including past issues of the PPNF Journal.
Published in the Price-Pottenger Journal of Health and Healing
Fall 2013 Volume 37 Number 3
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